Friday, April 29, 2016

When the Going Gets Tough

It's not new news to my little blog world that things have been unusually quiet around these parts in the last month or two. My posting schedule has been virtually nonexistent and my postings have been so random and erratic that I have that overwhelming, icky feeling when even signing on to my account to start a post because I know it's just been too long.

I had the dream of creating this little outlet years ago. I ignored it, pushed it off, ignored it some more until in typical Liz-fashion, I just bit the bullet and dove in deep and just did it. I always envisioned this giving me such peace and happiness- connecting with the world over subjects that are very much my life and talking about the surface level things that I love- eyeliner, dry shampoo, the sweater that every woman in the world should own.. and also sharing the not so easy parts of my life: PCOS, my lifelong weight loss struggle, food addiction and emotional eating, etc. The more I share, the more I'm able to connect with all of you, and the better I feel. The more grounded I feel.

Starting this blog in October was one of the best decisions of my life and I've always taken this virtual space of mine very seriously in only wanting to put out content that I feel is my absolute best. Content that gets to the heart of what I'm going through in an effort to connect with all of you. Content that I feel is worthwhile and informative. In the beginning. I posted regularly, I had creative ideas for blog posts, I had infinite ideas for recipes and spent hours a day dreaming up my plans for Bluebonnets & Bacon, and with that, this space became everything I ever wished it to be and more. 

And then I got a new job at the college where I work at the beginning of March! My little part-time gig turned into a full time position where I am now adult-ing every day and if you need me, I'm busy being lost in a sea of a growing to do list between home and work and exhausted at the end of the day from trying to balance it all. Trying to do it all. Trying to know it all. Trying to be it all. It's been two months since the promotion and while I absolutely love it and am so grateful that all of my hard work paid off and undoubtedly led me to this position, it has been a challenge, to say the least, in finding some balance in this new phase of my life. But, like most things, every day gets a little easier, the stress of the newness of my job has died down a little and I just feel so grateful to serve my students in a way that I always felt called to. For better or for worse, I really, really love higher education.

A little peek at the new digs! Boy, do I have plans for this little space to make it even more "my own".. but for now, I'm love love loving my new office and having a place to call my own and at the end of the day, hang my degrees. #becauseoutofstatetuition 

In the meantime, the last two months or so this little blog space has been pushed aside to create more brain space for the other growing compartments of my life and I can't say enough how much I HATE that. However, when the going gets tough, I usually eat. Carbs in particular, but eat nonetheless. And I'm so proud to say that I've been so busy that eating hasn't been on the forefront of my mind and that has been so weird for me.  Even typing that feels weird. I am a eater out of stress. Out of emotion. Out of boredom. Out of rewarding myself. Out of any excuse. Don't get me wrong, I have treated myself with a glass of wine at the end of the weekend at a winery and enjoyed a little miniature size dessert over Easter.. But it's just different. 

I felt a bit like a fish out of water the first month or so as I adjusted to my new normal and am so thankful for the patience of my friends and family, and especially my husband, who has been my constant encouragement and supporter, and dinner chef, and sweet lunch note writer, and teammate.. But to all of you, just know that I'm still here. Still low-carbing, still learning my body, still continuing my journey- even when it seems at a snail's pace. (Updates on that soon!)

So what happens when the going gets tough? The tough take care of themselves. The tough ask for help. The tough lean on their past experiences of overcoming to prove to themselves that they will be okay. That they can continue to persevere. That they can do anything. The tough take some time out to find that balance before moving forward. And most importantly, they never give up on their dreams. For me, self care is everything. If I'm stressed in one area of my life- I can't help but have that chaos trickle into every compartment of my brain until I'm 100% focused on just the task at hand while the rest of my life is hanging by a thread. Awesome way to go through life, huh? Ha. But it takes time. And like clockwork, I come back to the surface for air realizing all that I've missed out on and armed with a plan to get 'er done. So consider me coming back up for air finally!

Taking care of myself is writing. Sharing. Connecting. Regrouping. Savoring. Reflecting. And doing things that I love, which blogging falls naturally into. And sometimes I forget the importance of stepping away and doing the things that make me happy and give me so much joy-- so that I can go out into the world and be a happier, funnier member of society. So, y'all, take care of yourselves! When the going gets tough, take it from me and just breathe. Know that you can handle whatever life is throwing at you, and be confident in doing the best you can with what you have.. and everything else will fall into place in time. This is me taking my own advice. 

So while it's been forever since we've chatted, thank you for being patient. For still following and cheering me on via social media. For allowing me into your little world. And for giving me that time to re-charge so that I can come back up for air and give y'all my best- even if parts of my life are messy, my journey rocky or slow. In every sense of the phrase, I'm learning as I go. Just THANK YOU. I'm working on new content, new recipes and exciting posts for the future- so just continue to be patient with me as I learn my new posting schedule and this new balance in my life. 

In other news, after finally going through my closet and sorting through all of the clothes that no longer fit (helllooooo, new wardrobe!) I came across my beloved red striped shirt. I think I'll keep this gem forever because it's one of the only artifacts I have left from the beginning of my journey that also was accompanied by a real, live full body shot. #whatthewhat And what a difference 14 months makes! 2016 has started with a bang and I have big plans in motion to make this year the best year yet. So let's just do this, y'all!

Happy Friday, friends! I've missed you!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Trip Report: Breckenridge, Colorado

We recently returned from a wonderful, relaxing & so much fun vacation in beautiful, freeeeeeezing Breckinridge, Colorado! While there, I wanted to share my experiences of what a non-skier could possibly do in a ski town. Because, let's face it, this chick ain't flying down a mountain at rocket speed. 

While the rest of the world happily empties themselves on the side of the mountain to “shred some gnar”, I’m here to let you know that there is actual life (and so much fun) in a mountain town when you go sans-skis! That’s right. I’m one of the few who looks at a week in the mountains at a gorgeous condo as an excuse to over-fill my suitcase with 2 different kinds of boots, the cutest little boot socks I ever did see, 7 scarves, 5 hats, 2 pairs of gloves and a partridge in a pear tree. 

While I am too terrified of heights to bring myself to ski down a mountain with nothing between me and my death but 2 skis on ice, Ben was on the mountain snowboarding each day, my dad loved the cross country skiing and my mom couldn't read enough books by the fire. Meanwhile, I couldn't stop myself from heading out to Main Street in 3 different patterns of plaid and taking pictures of the beautiful mountains, the snow everywhere and without staring at my beautiful Juicy Couture Duck Boots as they walk through snow, ice and slush and imagining that they feel all too much at home in the mountains.
So if you’re like me and couldn’t be LESS interested in skiing or snow sports, take a page out of my book, do yourself a favor, and accessorize. Half the fun in winter-y trips is coordinating scarves, puffy vests and hats.. and I can tell you I was enjoying it far too much.

Head down to downtown to shop and have a delicious lunch with your people and mosey in and out of little stores as you breathe in the crisp, poorly oxygenated air. Note to self: pack Rolaids next time. And Excedrin. And maybe don’t drink the Breck Mule on your first night when you’re already gasping like a hooked tuna.

Head out to dinner with friends at a fun, delicious little local joint! We had too much fun walking through town looking at the menus for all the most popular restaurants on Main Street and every meal we ate (minus one) were both a) on plan! And b) AMAZING. We absolutely adored the Breckenridge Brew Pub. Delicious meal, great drinks, even better company. The place was hoppin' and the food was incredible.

Catch up on some light reading.. I can never go wrong with Jane Green. Home girl just gets me.

Meet up with your ski loving people at the top of the mountain for lunch and some serious people watching and maybe take that gondola around and around 3 or 4 times because it just couldn’t be more gorgeous or peaceful. It’ll end up being a lot more fun when you make the trips with your mom who looks as it as a free amusement park ride. Note that.

 Truth: This was probably her favorite afternoon. Until we had to share it with an actual skier. Who actually needed it to get to the top of the mountain. 

This guy was SO happy to be in his happy place: scaling down that mountain on his snowboard. And I was that wife who stood at the bottom taking videos of him coming down said mountain. My jeans and I looked incredibly out of place but it was so wonderful to see my hubby so happy. You can take the boy outta Colorado but you can't take the Colorado out of the boy. 

That chilly mountain air, hats, scarves, duck boots... paradise. 

For cardio, enjoy that walk back to the condo up the largest hill known to mankind 39393939393 feet above sea level every time you head out or come home. #thatlldopig #thatlldo

Make trips to the store in the snow to get all the fixins for a healthy, delicious, homemade cozy dinner at the condo by the fire! We so enjoy cooking together. And the eating. Ohhhh, the eating! It was hard to feel like I was depriving myself when we ate tons of fresh veggies, lean meat and truly getting down to the heart of simple, clean, low-carb eating. I made a point of it to order salads each day at lunch in lieu of typical mountain fare: burgers, fresh cut fries, carbs, carbs, carbs. And I felt SO much better because of it. 

Dinner time and the eatin' was goooood

Take a day trip to Vail for the sheer fact that your best friend, Ree Drummond, posted about the best lunch she’s ever had the week before! Celebrity stalking at its finest. But really, if the Pioneer Woman was there within the same week and said it was life changing, it had to be worth the trip. And it SO was.

We spent the day strolling through the little shops and took a ton of pictures of the beautiful views. And then.. there was lunch. 

Up there with one of the best lunches of my life. #mybestiewasright 

Y'all. This salad was everything. I ordered the grilled chicken salad & it was topped with grilled chicken, butternut squash, Honeycrisp apple, miso brown butter and granola on a bed of arugula. 

And the best crispy shrimp and calamari of my life. With a sweet chili sauce. 
#couldalickedtheplate #notlowcarb #sorrynotsorry

Happy hour? You betcha. Hearthstone had the most wonderful little happy hour in town with the most breathtaking view of the mountains from our second floor table. The floor to ceiling windows had a glorious mountain view and the place filled up lightening fast. We enjoyed it so much that round 2 even happened! 

Travel tip: get there right at 4 p.m. when happy hour starts and thank me later. 

These two put the happy in happy hour. Little bites and yummy drinks? They're all about it. 

And walking through town to get there was refreshing and gorgeous. 

Cutest little yellow chapel. 

Spend time with the love of your life and your favorite travel companion and head on a little day trip to Buena Vista, CO. The drive was absolutely breathtaking. 

Not a bad view, am I right?

Once you're back in Breck, make sure you stop in for dinner at The Canteen. Oh my word, the salmon with the hoisin glaze was too. die. for. Ben and I loved taking time away to just be together and soak up every bit of our little week away. 

Any little restaurant with string lights outside and a delicious meal?! Yes. 
Without a doubt one of the best meals of our trip. 
And it was so packed that I think everyone in that town would agree. 

And most importantly, spend ample amounts of time getting all kinds of cozy in the comfiest sweater to ever exist and sit in front of that fire chatting, laughing, watching movies and relaxing with your favorite people and just love. Your. Life. 

That's it for this trip. I hope to do more of these posts in the future as half the fun in going on a trip is seeing the places and things that other travelers love so much about where you're going and things to definitely not miss out on. With some exciting trips booked in these next few months, I'm excited to share more trip reports with y'all soon! 

Happy Tuesday, friends! Any places you've been and loved? I'd love to hear about them. 

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